Beretta M9A3 High-Capacity 9mm Combat/Tactical Pistol with 17-Round Sand-Resistant Magazine and Steiner eOptics SBAL-PL Lightweight, Compact Green Aiming Laser (Laser Sight)/Tactical White Light/Illuminator (Videos!)

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By David Crane
david (at) defensereview (dot) com

April 7, 2015
Last updated on 4/13/15.

DefenseReview (DR) got to view and handle the new Beretta M9A3 high-capacity combat/tactical 9mm (9mm Parabellum/9x19mm NATO) pistol at SHOT Show 2015, and we came away pretty impressed with it. It sports a smaller, straight-backed grip, a threaded barrel for mounting a muzzle can (silencer/sound suppressor), MIL-STD-1913 “Picatinny” rail for mounting a tactical white light and/or laser aiming module (laser sight), and a Flat Dark Earth (FDE) Cerakote ceramic finish/coating. And, the M9A3 can hold up to 17 rounds (flush with the grip) with Beretta’s new 17-round sand-resistant 9mm magazine as the standard carry mag, but 20-round and 30-round mags are also available for when things really go south.

Hopefully, the higher-capacity mags (20-rounder and 30-rounder) are sand-resistant, too. Regardless, those two extra rounds and enhanced reliability under adverse conditions are certainly welcome in the 17-round mag. Two extra rounds constitutes almost a 12% on-board-ammo-capacity increase, just for the record.

Anyway, the M9A3’s grip is smaller than the MILSPEC M9’s grip and appears to mimick a 1911 grip angle. While your humble correspondent has decent-sized hands and doesn’t need the smaller grip, we found it comfortable, and it points naturally.

In a few of the accompanying photos below, you’ll notice a Steiner eOptics (formerly Laser Devices) SBAL-PL lightweight, compact green aiming laser/tactical white light illuminator mounted on the M9A3, which is an interesting little unit, and perhaps worthy of a hands-on review. We’ll see if we can get our hands on one.

Editor’s Note (4/08/15): You can read DR’s range review of the Beretta M9A3 pistol from Ernest Langdon’s tactical/technical pistol shooting course at Beretta Tactical Summit (BTS) 2015 by clicking on this link. Speaking of Langdon’s pistol class, as much as we enjoyed shooting the Beretta M9A3, we would have very much liked the opportunity to run the Beretta/Wilson 92G Brigadier Tactical 9mm combat/tactical pistol (offered exclusively by Wilson Combat), as well, since we prefer the 92G’s pure decocking feature, and we’d like to see just how good the latter’s trigger is. The Beretta/Wilson 92G Brigadier Tactical is our current favorite Beretta pistol, at least until the new Beretta APX striker-fired, polymer-frame pistol goes into production and proves itself.

Beretta M9A3 9mm Pistol Specs (from Beretta USA website):

“CALIBER: 9mm Luger (9x19mm Parabellum)
SYSTEM OF OPERATION: Short recoil, semiautomic, double/single action
MAGAZINE CAPACITY: 17 rounds standard. Optional 15, 20 and 30 round magazines available
MAGAZINE: Sand-resistant magazine with PVD coating
FRONT SIGHT: Blade, dovetailed to slide, tritium dot
REAR SIGHT: Notched bar, dovetailed to slide, tritium 2-dot. Adjustable for windage
SAFETY FEATURES: Decocking/safety lever, automatic firing pin block, loaded chamber indicator, external hammer, half-cock notch, double action first trigger pull (Type F configuration)
LOCKING SYSTEM: Tilting locking block, “3rd Gen” design for increased service life
EXTERNAL HAMMER: Provides the energy to the firing pin, virtually elminating the possibility of misfires due to light primer strikes, even in adverse conditions. Also provides an immediate visual and tactile indicator as to the cocked/uncocked status of the pistol
FINISH: Flat Dark Earth. CerakoteTM, anodizing, Bruniton, black oxide, PVD. Advanced coatings provide high lubricity, corrosion resistance and excellent wear resistance. Reduced visual and IR signature. Chrome lined bore and chamber
ACCESSORY RAIL: 3 slot MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail
BARREL THREAD: 1/2″ X 28 standard thread on extended barrel, with thread protector
ACCESSORIES: Wrap-around backstrap grip unit for larger handed shooters
GRIP/FRAME: “Vertec” style smaller gripped frame with straight backstrap and thin plastic grips
ADDITIONAL FEATURES: “Universal” slide design to allow Armorer conversion to “G” decocker-only operation using Conversion Kit. “Over-center” safety lever to prevent inadvertent engagement of lever. Oversize beveled magazine well
OVERALL WIDTH: 1.5 in (1.3 in at grips)

Company Contact Info:

Beretta USA
17601 Beretta Drive
Accokeek, MD 20607-9566
Toll Free 1: 800-237-3882
Toll Free 2: 800-929-2901
Office: 301-283-2191
Email Contact Page:
Website 1:
Website 2:

Steiner-Optik (Steiner eOptics)
331 East 8th Street
Greeley, CO 80631
Toll Free: 888-228-7747
Phone: 970-356-1670
Email: [email protected]

© Copyright 2015 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without receiving permission and providing proper credit and appropriate links. If you are reading this article anywhere other than, please email us the website address/URL (where the unauthorized DR article reprint is located) at defrev (at) gmail (dot) com. Thank you.

All photo and video content contained in this article, except for the bottom/last video, was shot by, and is copyrighted. owns the copyright on all photo and video content. All DR photos and videos were shot with a Sony Cyber-shot RX100 (DSC-RX100/B) Digital Camera with 20.2 MP (20.2-megapixel) still camera and 1080p HD video camera capability.

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About David Crane

David Crane started publishing online in 2001. Since that time, governments, military organizations, Special Operators (i.e. professional trigger pullers), agencies, and civilian tactical shooters the world over have come to depend on Defense Review as the authoritative source of news and information on "the latest and greatest" in the field of military defense and tactical technology and hardware, including tactical firearms, ammunition, equipment, gear, and training.

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